PM calls in party lead­ers

Premier to hold round-ta­ble talks, chaired by pres­i­dent, in new con­sen­sus drive

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With the op­tions of snap elec­tions, a ref­er­en­dum or a cabi­net reshuf­fle all still on the agenda, Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou will meet with the lead­ers of all the op­po­si­tion par­ties to­day in an ap­par­ent bid to brief them on the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing Greece and to achieve some form of con­sen­sus on the mea­sures that need to be adopted.

Greece has been com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to achieve po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus over the aus­ter­ity mea­sures and struc­tural re­forms that need to be adopted in the com­ing months.

Pa­pan­dreou failed in an at­tempt to find com­mon ground with the op­po­si­tion lead­ers ear­lier this week and is hop­ing that a new meet­ing, which will be chaired by Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias, might push the politi­cians to achieve some kind of agree­ment.

An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras of New Democ­racy, Gior­gos Karatzaferis of the Pop­u­lar Ortho­dox Rally (LAOS) and Alexis Tsipras of the Coali­tion of the Rad­i­cal Left (SYRIZA) re­fused to give their across-the-board con­sent for fur­ther tax hikes and the start of a pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram. Com­mu­nist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Pa­pariga re­fused to at­tend the meet­ing.

These types of meet­ings, be­tween all the party lead­ers and chaired by the pres­i­dent, are rel­a­tively rare al­though Pa­pan­dreou did hold one at the be­gin­ning of his pre­mier­ship which was aimed at achiev­ing com­mon po­si­tion on fight­ing corruption.

How­ever, the good will of PASOK’s first weeks in power has now dis­ap­peared and it seems un­likely that Pa­pan­dreou will be able to gain any sig­nif­i­cant con­ces­sions from the op­po­si­tion lead­ers. One op­tion that he is con­sid­er­ing, ac­cord­ing to sources, is to pro­pose a cabi­net reshuf­fle that would lead to some non-PASOK of­fi­cials be­ing brought into the gov­ern­ment. There has been some dis­cus­sion about re­spected fig­ures or tech­nocrats who do not have a po­lit­i­cal back­ground be­ing brought into the Cabi­net and this op­tion is likely to please Sa­ma­ras and Karatzaferis.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou said that Greece was at a cru­cial cross­roads. “We are be­tween a hard road and a de­struc­tive road,” he said, while in­sist­ing that the gov­ern­ment had no plans to quit the eu­ro­zone.

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